When it comes to Christmas episodes, The Andy Griffith Show sure had a good one with Elinor Donahue and Griffith back in 1960.
Outsiders, you have seen this among the plethora of reruns. This one happened in the show’s first season on CBS.
Donahue was playing drug store owner Ellie Walker at the time. The actress had made a name for herself in the 1950s as the daughter on Father Knows Best, which also starred Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.
She spent some time talking about Christmas Story with the Archive of American Television. You may remember that she and Griffith, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor, had a scene where Donohue would sing Away In A Manger.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actress Admits She Was Scared About Singing Song
In the interview, Donahue said, “It was scary and I really didn’t, I knew I had to do it but I kind of didn’t want to have to do it.
“My mother said, ‘I don’t know why you are so afraid of it, you’ve sung that song a million times at Christmas and at church,’” she said. “I certainly know it but I was terrified.
“I had this thing about not being able to sing,” The Andy Griffith Show actress said. “So we went to the recording studio after the shooting was done during the day. And Andy was there with his guitar. Our line producer was also there. And they had the microphones all over the studio. Andy said, ‘Let’s try and get a key that we can both agree on.’”
Lead Actor Finds Chord For Him, Donahue to Sing And They Proceed To Do Just That
After a period of time, Griffith found a key and they started rehearsing. Donahue said her voice was shaking. Griffith then suggested they sit on the floor. So, Donohue and Griffith sit on a riser just below them.
Griffith then told Donahue, “‘I’m going to play some chords and you just hum and when you feel really comfortable, just come in and then we’ll start and I’ll just play.’”
The Andy Griffith Show star did just that and Donahue started singing the classic Christmas hymn
“After we were finished with the song, he said, ‘OK I’ll see you tomorrow morning,’” Donahue said. “And I said, ‘Aren’t we recording?’ And he said, ‘We did.’”
Here’s Donahue talking about the scene and other things from her time on the show.
It’s also worth mentioning that the actress didn’t stay too long on the CBS sitcom.
Once she left, though, the show would feature Andy in different romances. Donohue is retired from show business but is still alive at 84 years old.